I actually had not planned to do a proper write up for Bar Tabac, but had such a nice time there during Euro Cup games that I could not leave it off the recommendations. I returned again a few weeks later to verify the feeling, and alas, there is probably not a more pleasant place to hang out for lunch on a weekday.
If you have a bad opinion about French beer like I do, try the Meteor Pils, a fresh and full pilsner made in Alsace, not too far from more beer-friendly Germany. They also have a delightful list of cocktails, including la vie en rose (below), which uses a rose champagne and a garnish of rosemary.
With cocktails and beer, we have already surpassed what a typical "tabac" does in France, that small kiosk inside of a bar or with it's own window to the street. Throughout the day, patrons stop by to purchase cigarettes and a newspaper. Pause on a street anywhere in Paris and look around and you are bound to see one of those unmistakeable elongated diamond tabac signs, showing a place to be licensed to sell tobacco.
Here at Bar Tabac, residents of Cobble Hill have a casual, bohemian place to go for fast French bites. Try the classic croque monsieur ($12.45, below), béchamel sauce over Swiss cheese over ham over country bread. Fantastique, although slightly over salted.
The grilled hangar steak burger ($13.95, below) is full of fine slices of beef on a brioche bun. Both dishes and all their sandwiches come with "French fries" as they call them, thin-sliced and good.
Growing up, my grandmother always cooked what we called "French onion soup" in a clay bowl during holidays and family get togethers. Having not had it for many years, I decided to try what they call just "onion soup" in France, and it arrived in the exact same bowl. I almost checked the kitchen just to make sure she was not in there. The broth here is classic, full of onions and croutons, with just a touch of port wine.
Onion soup gratinée ($7.95)
Main courses include steak frites, mussels, and trout amandine. As noted before, weekdays are very pleasant. I have noticed it being quite a scene on evenings and weekends, even for brunch, so plan accordingly and prepare yourself if you go during those times.